The Best Green Beauty Gifts of 2009

For green girls.
Michelle Villett
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For green girls.

Got a friend or family member who prefers her beauty products sans parabens and synthetic ingredients? Forget run-of-the-mill health food store finds—most of them are great, but certainly not special enough for gifting. No, what you're after are luxe, beautifully packaged and high-quality wares like the selection I've picked out for you today.

And just an aside: I once interviewed model-turned-ecopreneur and author Jo Wood (ex-wife of Rolling Stones rocker Ronnie Wood and founder of UK organic beauty line Jo Wood Organics). One of the reasons she created her line (which,  unfortunately, is no longer available in Canada) was because she couldn't find anything organic that wasn't also in horrible packaging. She used to buy beauty products and then pour them into pretty glass jars that she could display in her bathroom.

Happily, those days are over—there are now dozens of aesthetically pleasing AND natural choices out there. Here are a few of my favourites:

1. Elemental Herbology Velvet Skin Winter Body Wash: I met Elemental Herbology founder Kristy Goodger back in the summer when her line first debuted at Holt Renfrew, and—in another case of "I wish I thought of that!"—I'm seriously impressed by this range. Formulated without mineral oils, sulphates, parabens, synthetic fragrances or colours, everything has an authentic botanical scent (so if you've got a pal who loves Aveda fragrances, she'll adore this too). With tuberose, evening primrose oil and rose, the Body Wash is truly decadent. At Holt Renfrew stores across Canada.

2. Josie Maran Argan Oil: You know I love me some Josie Maran Lip Gloss. Did you know she also makes one of the best argan oils on the market? (At least according to reviews on Makeup Alley.) This is a great gift idea because it's a true multitasker: use it as a moisturizer, split end sealer, acne scar lightener, cuticle smoother and more. Best of all, it's 100 percent organic. At select Sephora stores across Canada.

3. Naturally: How to Look and Feel Healthy, Energetic and Radiant the Organic Way by Jo Wood: Any natural beauty devotee will love this folksy book, which outlines Jo's organic journey—after becoming ill, she dramatically changed her diet and environment. You'll find tips on organic eating, beauty and creating a greener home. Lots of fun recipes too! At

4. Revolution Organics Freedom Glow Beauty Balm: It can be tricky buying cosmetics for others, but I don't think you can go wrong with this multitasking coloured balm-in-a-stick. (I've written about it before, and still in love!) This product comes in rose, peach and bronze. I use all three, depending on my mood and other makeup, and they ALL look great—use 'em on cheeks, lips, eyelids and decolletage. They're made with 85 percent certified organic ingredients (and no chemicals or synthetics) and are très handy to pop in your purse. See here for retailers.

5. Consonant Body Spearmint and Sage Organic Body Soap: Who doesn't love soap? Especially this brand's—as I've mentioned before, it's my hands-down favourite as far as soaps go. Why not gift three or four in a pretty package for a friend? I love all the scents, not just this one. See here for retailers.

6. Living Nature Luminous Pressed Powder: I discovered this cult favourite New Zealand line through a gift certificate I needed to use up at online organic retailer Saffron Rouge. Although Living Nature makes hair, skin and body products too, this powder is particularly popular. It contains natural reflective properties that really do give your skin a nice glow. Everything is made from indigenous New Zealand plant ingredients obtained through sustainable farming practices. At

7. Dr. Hauschka Lemon Body Oil: What green girl worth her salt doesn't love some Dr. Hauschka? The brand sells an impressive array of high-quality body oils, each designed for a different purpose. This lemon one is great for soothing muscles post-workout and it also works on cellulite (but perhaps don't tell your friend that's why you bought it). At select health food stores and Sephora stores across Canada.